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Chuka Umunna exclusive: Small Business Saturday is crucial for the success of firms big and little

The shadow business secretary spoke to Real Business at the launch of Small Business Saturday 2015, providing details on his ambitious aims for the annual day and why the event is instrumental in helping companies of all sizes prosper.

Umunna hopes Small Business Saturday will hit the heights of Comic Relief

The recent launch of 2015's Small Business Saturday made clear that while the initiative is only in its third year, the event has had a significant impact.

For last year's day, about 16.5m people got involved to support at least one local business for the initiative and nearly two-thirds of people in the UK were aware of the campaign.

The occasion was brought across from the US, where it was created by American Express in 2010 – and served to put $5.7bn (£3.4bn) into the pockets of independent shops and local service providers across the US. Now, with a presence in the UK, it has become a campaign that enjoys cross-party support, though shadow business secretary Chuka Umunna has been at the forefront of driving the movement.

He had previously said that there had been “such a lot of talk about the American dream – small business succeeding against the odds” and while the UK did have a British dream, “we don't talk about it, it's not part of our imagination”. Umunna feels the introduction of Small Business Saturday has helped make the dream a reality.

Speaking to Real Business exclusively at the 2015 launch, he said the initiative “does strike a chord with everyone”, partly because nearly everyone knows someone who runs a business, or does so themselves, but more fundamentally because there's an intrinsic respect for others “who take a bit of a risk”.

These initiatives for smaller businesses succeed, he feels, because these firms have a certain amount of heart and character behind the name. While big brands may be doing big business, it's often difficult to humanise them and see the people working behind them.

Umunna believes that the general population and day-to-day consumers can recognise that while smaller businesses “want to do well for themselves and make money”, beyond that, they're “trying to make a contribution in some way, shape or form” and do so in an individual way.

As a nation, we respect innovation, hard-work and honesty, which is what Small Business Saturday celebrates about the millions of small firms that contribute not just to the economy, but the communities they serve too.

There has been concern as to whether SMEs across the UK are getting enough attention under the spotlight, and Umunna feels the bus tour that has become part of Small Business Saturday's annual event, has been a particularly good tool here. It covers a solid regional spread with the aim of making sure all businesses across the UK are celebrated.

For the full story follow the link…


Source: Real Business

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